If I was a believer in past lives, I would surely say that all of us long suffering Sabres and Bills fans must have really been awful people in our previous lives. However, I am not a believer in any of that quasi-religious mumbo jumbo so instead, we’ll have to try to find a more reasonable explanation for our sports woes in Buffalo. Just saying we’re cursed ain’t gonna cut it for me.
So…wow, what a news day yesterday in Buffalo, with the Pegulas canning both head coach, Disco Dan Bylsma, and quote machine General Manager, Tim Murray. Bylsma first. Good riddance, I say! I was against his hiring from the start, in spite of his cup victory with Pittsburgh. Why? I saw what he did as the head coach of the US Olympic Team. He was awful. The team was a major disappointment.
His players clearly didn’t like him, which is okay, but when so many things are constantly leaking out, there’s a problem. Bylsma instituted a boring system which ill fitted his personnel. This is not to dismiss the responsibility of the players but the shear volume of complaints that leaked out tell me that he lost the room and he was never getting it back. Buh bye. I won’t miss him even one bit. I won’t miss his(okay, I’m gonna quote he who will not be named here) “low energy” press conferences. I won’t miss his inexplicable decision making(sitting Reinhart on the bench for an entire game?, not starting Eichel against McDavid last year, for example).
I will definitely miss Tim Murray though, who I think is the most interesting person to come through the Buffalo sport’s world in many years. Murray spoke plainly and never minced words. How refreshing after so many years of milquetoast Darcy Regier speaking and saying nothing. Plus, Murray was a riverboat gambler of a GM, making 22 trades in his short tenure here. I will truly miss him. That’s not to say that he did a great job. He clearly made some mistakes. He signed Molson to a ridiculous 5 year deal. He overestimated how good Bogosian and Gorges are. He traded Pysyck for Kulikov, who is the worst team acquisition since way back to Ville Leino. Okay, I guess that wasn’t so long ago. He and Bylsma stubbornly sent Guhle back to juniors when he would have been our 3rd best defenseman this year as an 18 year old.
Murray also overpaid in the Kane and O’Reilly trades. The trade to LA involving McNabb was questionable at best. It’s funny but as I type all of this out, I can see why he was canned. Picking Reinhart over Dreisatl is looking like a huge mistake.
Here’s the thing. The Pegulas appear to be nice people(putting aside the fact that they made all of their money by destroying the environment through fracking). They’ve done much for the rebirth and economic development in town. They just seem completely lost though in the sports world. They have so far proven to be incompetent in their hiring. Will they get it right this time? There’s no reason to think so, unless they just happen to get lucky.
Every article and column that I’ve read in the past two days has referred to us as “the long suffering fans of Western New York”. How much more suffering is enough?